- Neighborhood: Center City West, Rittenhouse Square
- 1901 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
- Phone: 215-454-6529
- Website | Facebook | Twitter
- Cuisine: New American
- Alcohol: Full Bar
- Meals Served: Dinner
- Price: $$$
- Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
When I heard that Aldine was changing its menu format, I thought maybe that meant the menu would no longer feature stupid colons in between ingredients (like sorry but,”sugar snap peas : pickled chili : smoked almond milk : rhubarb,” just does not look right). But alas, that was too much to hope for. Instead, Aldine is abandoning its unique tasting menu, which was divided into either the “omnivore” or “herbivore” menu, in favor of a more traditional format.
Chef and owner George Sabatino’s new menu is divided into first, second and third courses. First courses are either served cool or room temperature, second courses are slightly larger and served warm, and third courses are really the bigger main courses.
I was at Aldine for dinner on opening night, and it was awful.
Of all the dishes set before me, I only found two of them appetizing enough to finish, and with another one, I had to pull the old Oh look, some of it fell on the floor trick just to make it appear as though I’d taken more than one bite.
But it’s okay. Don’t worry. Aldine got better.
I ate at Sbraga years ago, shortly after it opened. It was one of the most talked-about restaurants in the city, but not all the talk was good. And, frankly, neither was dinner. It was gimmicky, too clever, muddled in a way that I think was supposed to feel casual and fun but didn’t.
But Sbraga got better, too. Read more »
There is more than one kind of two-bell review. The surprisingly good neighborhood joint, the disappointing debut of a big-name chef and in the case of George Sabatino’s Aldine, a two-bell review going in the right direction.
Craig LaBan’s review sees progress in several dishes over just a couple of months. And others are already there.
Dishes such as the lamb rillettes, its tender milk-braised meat shredded and formed into a crispy cake over silky Hubbard squash puree sparking with red chile heat, evoke both visual beauty and a deep satisfaction of soulful flavors. Sabatino’s clever crudo deconstruction of the ubiquitous sesame-crusted tuna – raw tuna sashimi brightened with blood orange, fennel crackers and sesame seeds – was like tasting Mediterranean sun.
Two Bells – Very Good
For George Sabatino, years of experiments paying off at Aldine [Philadelphia Inquirer]